Wildfire Experts: A Journalist's Guide

November 14, 2018


Researchers at various centers and affiliates of Columbia University’s Earth Institute are studying wildfires and their effects around the world, from the physics of how fires start and spread, to the dynamics of disaster response and recovery. Below is a list of experts whom journalists may contact. For further help, contact Kevin Krajick, kkrajick@ei.columbia | 212-854-9729 or Kyu Lee, klee@ei.columbia.edu | 212-851-0798.

Pietro Ceccato, based at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, is an expert in the use of remote sensing for a wide variety of practical applications.  Among other things, he has studied the use of remote sensing for detecting fires and fire risk in Africa and Indonesia.  pceccato@iri.columbia.edu | 845-680-4425

Benjamin Cook is a leading researcher on temperature, drought and climate, and their implications including for wildfires in the western United States. He is based at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. bc9z@ldeo.columbia.edu | 212-678-5669

Katia Fernandes of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society studies the spread of fires in South America’s Amazon–particularly their relation to changing climate and land use.  katia@iri.columbia.edu | 845-689-4449

Robert Field is a research scientist at Columbia University and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. He has helped develop fire danger rating systems for Canada, Indonesia and Malaysia. He currently studies the effects of the water cycle on fires, and the cause, fate and effects of emissions from fires. (Read: El Nino and Fire Risk)  Robert.field@columbia.edu | 212-678-5600

Keren Mezuman is a graduate student at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University. She models how climate variations and global atmospheric circulation affect the start and spread of fires, and particularly how the resulting emissions affect the atmosphere. keren.mezuman@nasa.gov | 212-678-5669

Andrew Kruczkiewicz of the International Research Institute for Climate and Society uses remote sensing to map out temperature and precipitation patterns and how wildfire risk may intersect with other natural hazards, with an eye to helping authorities plan potential responses.   andrewk@iri.columbia.edu

Justin Mankin, a postdoc at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, investigates the response of land and vegetation to drought, and resulting wildfire risk, especially in the western United States.  jsmankin@ldeo.columbia.edu | 845-365-8373

Irwin Redlener, physician and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness, is a leading thinker regarding emergency planning and response, and in dealing with the aftermaths of all kinds of disasters, including wildfires.  ir2110@columbia.edu | 212-535-9797

Jeffrey Schlegelmilch is deputy director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness. He has broad expertise relating to disaster preparedness and response, including their application to wildfires. (Read: The Truth About California Wildfires)  js4645@columbia.edu |646-845-2318

Park Williamsa bioclimatologist at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, studies the factors that lead to destructive wildfires, especially in relation to drought and warming climate. A native Californian, he concentrates on the western United States, and is author of several seminal studies on this topic. (Read: Why Humans Can’t Control Wildfires)  williams@ldeo.columbia.edu | 845-365-8150

Media Inquiries: 
Kevin Krajick
(212) 854-9729